You might not have heard about them before, but chaga mushrooms (or Inonotus Obliquus to give them their official name) offer a multitude of health benefits which doctors and pharmaceutical companies around the world don’t want you to know about, for obvious reasons.
Chaga mushrooms don’t look particularly pleasant or appetizing as they often look similar in appearance to what you see in the example photograph above, but trust me, it’s what it does rather than what it looks like that people are interested in – and you too, considering you are reading a blog post on chaga mushrooms!
Are you new to the world of chaga mushrooms and how they can benefit us in a variety of ways? If so, you should read up on these 7 interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about!
1. Chaga mushrooms look like burnt charcoal
As you can see above, chaga mushrooms take on the appearance of burnt charcoal. This is because they contain high amounts of melanin (a natural pigment). However, it should be noted that chaga mushrooms are definitely mushrooms, and not charcoal!
2. Chaga mushrooms only grow in certain conditions
They aren’t particularly abundant in the wild, but you will typically only see them growing on dead birch trees across European, Asian and North American forests. They only grow on the main trunk of a tree, not on individual branches.
3. Chaga mushrooms have been used in Russian medicine for centuries
The first known uses of chaga mushrooms for medicinal use were first recorded in 16th-century Russia and Siberia. In fact, the name ‘chaga’ is a latinization of a Russian word for fungus, a name which supposedly originates from indigenous people living west of the Ural Mountains.
4. Chaga mushrooms are natural painkillers
One of the numerous chaga benefits that you could learn about is the fact that they are nature’s painkillers. This is because they contain betulinic acid, which is something their host trees have an abundance of. Betulinic is used in Western medicine today because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
5. Chaga mushrooms can help you lose weight
Before you ask, they aren’t a ‘wonder drug’ that will instantly make you lose weight! However, if you consume chaga mushrooms in one of many different methods (i.e. as a hot tea drink), they are the perfect accompaniment alongside a balanced diet and regular exercise to help you detox your body.
6. Chaga mushrooms boost your immune system
Some clinical trials have concluded that chaga mushrooms have had a positive impact on a number of patients that have been diagnosed with various conditions including cancer and HIV, and that their immune systems have been boosted as a result.
7. Chaga mushrooms are full of vitamins and antioxidants
Perhaps the reason why chaga mushrooms are so beneficial to improving a person’s immune system is the fact that they contain a wide range of vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamins B, D2 and K, calcium and iron. Chaga mushrooms can therefore help to prevent a number of medical conditions, as a result.